Mushroom farm delayed but homes get go-ahead
THE decision on whether to allow a large mushroom factory to be built in Scarisbrick has been pushed further back.
West Lancashire Borough Council was to decide the fate of the controversial plans which have received hundreds of objections from local residents.
A week after technical problems blighted the committee’s first attempt to meet via phone and video link, it reconvened on Thursday evening last week to make a decision.
Residents objecting to the application spoke of concerns over the size of the new building and the impact its structure would have on the Green Belt and its Grade 1 agricultural land, which is said to be among the best quality in the country.
Issues relating to traffic and the increase in lorries were also raised and it looked at one stage as though the plans could be rejected, with Cllr Andrew Pritchard, backed by Cllr David Westley, moving a resolution to reject the application.
But the committee instead backed an alternative motion from Cllr
Edward Pope to defer a decision and allow planning officers to carry out more discussions with the applicant on issues raised at the meeting.
If approved, the factory, which will be classed as agricultural development rather than industrial, will allow Smithy Mushrooms to continue its growth as one of the UK’s leading suppliers of exotic mushrooms and spare it from being squeezed out of the market.
According to its application, SML started as a small family business more than 25 years ago and has grown to become a leading UK supplier of exotic mushrooms, including oyster, shiitake and coral.
It has since received investment from Korean car giant Hyundai and supplies large retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Booths, and Tesco as well as major food service wholesalers and food processors and readymeal makers.
As a result of the deferral, further discussions will take place between the council and the company before the application is put back before the committee at a future meeting.
At the same three hour meeting, councillors voted to approve an application to build hundreds of houses on the Yew Tree Farm development site in Burscough.
The application was approved despite concerns over flood management and a total of 267 homes can now be built in the latest phase of the plan.
The development, from Anwyl Homes, includes a mix of one, two, three and four-bedroomed, terraced, semi-detached, and detached houses, flats, and bungalows.
All homes will incorporate private gardens with the exception of a shared garden for the planned six flats and 94 of the homes (35%) will be classed as “affordable”.
The decision on the expansion of Smithy Mushrooms, in Smithy Lane, Scarisbrick, has been postponed, but the housing estate at Yew Tree Farm, above, has been approved